• What We’re Reading: September 30, 2016

    A roundup of news and articles the Unfamiliar Terrain team is reading this week:

    Uber World (Economist): Uber, self-driving vehicles, and the future of transport.

    Jane Jacobs’s Street Smarts (The New Yorker): Examining the strengths and limits of Jane Jacobs’s urban vision.

    Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government (NYT): New federal guidelines for the burgeoning automated vehicle industry.

    In Cranes’ Shadow, Los Angeles Strains to See a Future With Less Sprawl (NYT): Is LA becoming denser?

    AS OUR CITIES GROW HOTTER, HOW WILL WE ADAPT? (The New Yorker): Urban planning for climate change.

    Obama takes on zoning laws in bid to build more housing, spur growth (Politico): Obama, NIMBY, and YIMBY.

  • City Controller’s Draft Report Finds New Affordable Housing Requirements May Be Economically Infeasible

    Publication of the much-anticipated feasibility study of the City’s new, heightened affordable housing requirements, originally due on July 31st, has been delayed until September. Nonetheless, on August 22nd the City Controller released draft recommendations concluding that increasing the new affordable housing set-aside to twenty five percent would reduce total housing production by twenty two percent as compared to the prior set-aside of twelve percent.

    The draft states that an eighteen percent on-site set aside for apartments and a twenty percent on-site set aside for condos mark the upper bounds of economic feasibility.

    The City adopted the increased affordable housing requirements in June with the passage of Prop C, a ballot measure to amend the City’s Charter and update affordable housing requirements. In May, the Board adopted trailing legislation (contingent on voter approval of the ballot measure) implementing Prop C.  Among other things, it required a feasibility study to assess how increasing on-site affordable housing requirements from twelve to twenty five percent, and off-site and in lieu fees from twenty to thirty three percent, will affect housing production in San Francisco. Once released, the report could form the basis for adjustments to the requirements.

    The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition estimated that 1,600 units in the approval pipeline would still be subject to Prop C’s requirements, and the report’s delay prolongs the economic uncertainty for many of these projects.

  • How to Get on the “Grooming for Partnership” List with Cliff Yin

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    Litigation partner Cliff Yin will be speaking at a panel discussion at the Barristers Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco, titled “How to Get on the ‘Grooming for Partnership’ List.” Panelists will be discussing how to best develop and maintain strategic relationships, both inside and outside the firm, and effectively raise their professional profiles in the legal, business and broader communities. A key component of advancing to partner is cultivating in attorneys the ability to become business developers – an aptitude that rests firmly on their capacity to develop a wide range of vital relationships.

    Full event and registration information can be found here.

    Categories: Events
  • Sara Finigan Named Among Top 100 Lawyers in California by Daily Journal

    Coblentz partner Sara Finigan was named among the Top 100 Lawyers in California for 2016 by the Daily Journal. The list recognizes 100 elite lawyers across all practices in California who are making the most impact on the legal profession.

    Sara is the co-chair of the firm’s business practice, specializing in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and technology. In its coverage of Sara, the Daily Journal remarks, “Few consider corporate law a cauldron of creativity. Perhaps that’s what sets Finigan apart – she sees in complex business matters the opportunity for expression and the chance to help her clients find innovative approaches to managing their business.” The Daily Journal also notes Sara’s recent representation of Stok LLC in ownership restructuring, and Uber Technologies in its $123.5 million purchase of Uptown Station in Oakland.

    Read more here.

    Categories: News
  • Marketing Your Brand With Influencers? Make Sure the FTC Hits the “Like” Button

    Authored by Thomas Harvey; originally published in The Recorder, September 22, 2016.

    Brand owners and their attorneys are grappling with an important question: how to disclose their connections to luminaries like PewDiePie.

    If you haven’t heard of PewDiePie, don’t worry—he’s a 26-year-old Swedish college dropout who likes to sit at his computer, play video games and shoot movie clips. But he also happens to operate the most popular YouTube channel in the world. He has nearly 50 million subscribers, and his commentary wields huge influence over the success of a video game release. Marketers pay him to exercise it. Last year, PewDiePie’s production company reported an operating profit of about $8.1 million.

    Brands have long valued “native advertising,” promotional content that is similar to the news, articles and entertainment that surrounds it. But they are increasingly spending their dollars on the particular subspecies known as influencer marketing, in which individuals—ranging from stars (LeBron James) to quasi-stars (Kim Kardashian) to everyday people (a little-known blogger)—endorse products with messages that are personal, direct and authentic. The dollars at stake are substantial. According to a recent report, the most popular influencers (three to seven million followers) command an average of $187,500 per YouTube post, $75,000 per Instagram or Snapchat post, and $30,000 per Twitter post. Even lesser influencers (between 50,000 and 500,000 followers) command average payouts of $2,500, $1,000 and $400, respectively.

    The proliferation of social platforms has created many new marketing opportunities for brands. But in these formats it is often impossible to distinguish between products that influencers happen to like and those that they are paid to endorse. Today, brand owners struggle with how to harness their authenticity without deceiving customers or falling afoul of federal disclosure requirements.

    The Federal Trade Commission is watching carefully. Guided by Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” the FTC has increasingly focused on influencer marketing. Last December, it updated its guidance with a policy statement on deceptively formatted advertisements. In its long-held view, messages not identifiable as advertising are deceptive if they mislead consumers into believing that they are independent, impartial or not from the sponsoring advertiser. It explores this principle in the context of influencer marketing.

    Click here to continue reading a PDF of the article.

    Categories: Publications
  • Stephen Lanctot Honored with 2016 St. Thomas More Award

    The St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco announced partner Steve Lanctot as the winner of its 2016 St. Thomas More Award. The St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco was founded in 1937 and is the oldest fellowship of Catholic lawyers and judges in the West. The St. Thomas More Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the legal community, the Catholic community, or the society and/or have dedicated themselves to public service or charitable works.

    St. Thomas More Society president Matthew Graham notes Steve “has contributed to the community so selflessly and with such great humor over the years, especially in the area of Catholic education.” Steve has been chairman of San Francisco’s Immaculate Conception Academy’s board of directors for 10 years, and was instrumental in the school’s transition to a Cristo Rey school and recently honored with ICA’s Cristo Rey Leadership Award. ICA president, Dominican Sister Diane Aruda, notes of Steve, “At the heart of his service is building community through relational leadership. We are both proud of Stephen and grateful for him.”

    At the October 25th award ceremony, the following tribute was read:

    “A native son of San Francisco, Stephen T. Lanctot grew up in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood where he attended nearby St. Agnes grammar school and St. Ignatius College Preparatory. He left the City to attend Santa Clara University, where he received a degree in history in 1973. After working in the maritime industry, he returned to the Hilltop where he attended the University of San Francisco School of Law while continuing to work full-time throughout his law school studies.

    Steve graduated with a law degree from USF in 1978 and began his legal career as Associate Division Counsel for Sea-Land Service before moving to law firm practice at Tobin & Tobin. In 1983, he joined the firm now known as Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, where for over 30 years he has practiced labor and employment law with creativity, humility and good humor.

    A long-time parishioner of St. Philip Neri in Alameda, Steve has been a dedicated servant of the community, and particularly Catholic institutions, throughout his life. He has served as a member of the St. Philip Neri School Board, the Board of Governors of USF School of Law, the USF Alumni Board, the St. Mary’s Cathedral Board, the Board of Directors of the National Brain Tumor Society, the American Auxiliary of the Paris Foreign Missions, and the Guardsmen Board of Directors.

    Steve is especially devoted to Catholic education, particularly to programs that foster Catholic education for the urban poor and underserved. Perhaps most significantly, Steve was instrumental in helping to save San Francisco’s Immaculate Conception Academy, which for over 130 year has served underprivileged young women and their families in San Francisco. During a time in which many of the City’s girls’ high schools were closing, for 10 years he worked tirelessly as the Chairman of ICA’s Board of Directors and led the school in its successful transition to a Cristo Rey school, a model that provides needy students with professional workplace skills as well as an excellent and affordable education. For his dedication and service to the school, Steve was honored with ICA’s Cristo Rey Leadership Award. He is now supporting the exploration of a Cristo Rey school to serve the residents of Oakland and the East Bay.

    Steve and his wife, Mary, an educator, are proud parents of three adult children, Brendan, Madelyn, and Caitlin, and devoted grandparents to Maddock and Beatriz.

    With a ready smile, Steve exemplifies St. Thomas More’s qualities of generosity, humility, faithfulness, and joy. In recognition of a lifetime of service to the church and to those in need, the St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco proudly and with great appreciation recognizes Stephen T. Lanctot with the 2016 St. Thomas More Award.”

    Categories: News